Bournemouth beaches, Dorset
Bournemouth town is a large and popular south coast beach resort in the county of Dorset, generally green, affluent and lacking both heavy industry and violent crime. A bank survey in 2007 indicated that Bournemouth was the happiest place in Britain (which sadly isn't saying much in these days of catastrophic financial failure and moronic local and national government). The town is easy to reach by rail or the M3 motorway - just 100 minutes from London.
Here's a selection of pictures of Bournemouth beaches starting in the east at Hengistbury Head and travelling west along the full 7 miles of Bournemouth Bay to Sandbanks, then over the Poole Harbour ferry to Studland beaches and on through the rest of Dorset.
Hengistbury Head, at the far east end of Bournemouth's chain of beaches, with the Isle of Wight in the background.
Bournemouth/Poole beaches have won more awards for cleanliness and safety than any other area in the United Kingdom, including the environmental group ENCAMS 'Best Beach In The UK'.
Bournemouth and Poole Councils invested heavily in a major channel dredging operation a couple of years ago, spewing the bay's mud onto the beaches - 700,000 cubic metres of the stuff - which magically morphed into fine sand a few days later. The beaches are now a good 20m wider and the sand 2m deeper than previously.
Hengistbury Head hosts large though partly stony beaches - with a naturist section right under the 'Head'.
Apart from beaches - and they include pleasant little Mudeford just around the corner - the Head offers a variety of lovely wild walks, plenty of wildlife (this is a Nature Reserve) and even stone-age camp remains stretching back 12,500 years. Hengistbury Head is a scheduled ancient monument with remnants of stone, bronze and iron-age settlements, including defensive ditches known as 'Double Dykes' constructed 2,000 years ago when this was probably Britain's biggest port.
Boscombe's surf beach boosted by a new, pricey and not very successful artificial reef. Kayak and board rentals available.
The Boscombe section (east of Bournemouth pier) has finished construction of a £3m artificial reef to increase surf waves but sadly it isn't working as the huge sandbags used appear to have exploded.
However, the local council plans to alter the reef to improve it (at further expense to the tax payer, naturally). Don't hold your breath.
Much of Bournemouth's central promenade is approached every couple of hundred yards by a chine. This is a small river valley where the river no longer flows through coastal cliffs to the sea. Some of these are Branksome Chine, Alum Chine, Middle Chine and Durley Chine and Honeycombe Chine.
Bournemouth main beach beside the pier.
Immediately adjacent to the beach are the Aquarium, Imax (which well-paid council planner permitted that windowless monstrosity to be built on one of the town's best viewpoints?), many eating, drinking facilities, toilets, beach gear rentals etc. Every convenience known to man, in other words, providing there are pounds in your pocket.
Surfing is not good near Bournemouth pier so head for Boscombe's new surf reef a couple of miles up the promenade.
However, for watching the excellent firework displays that partly shoot out from the pier on a Friday summer nights, this is pole position. The beaches are dog free, smoke free and pioneered the original safe "KIDZONE" scheme as well as trialling beach lockers.
Next, Sandbanks beaches
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